Top Breathing Techniques

Top 5 Breathing Techniques

We all suffer fraught, anxious moments on a weekly, no, make that daily, basis. Stop moments of stress from tipping into full-blown panic by pausing to inhale, exhale using breathing techniques by Harley Therapy Psychotherapist Dr. Sheri Jacobson.

Simple relaxation
Take in a breath through your nose, pause, and exhale more slowly than usual. Focus on reducing the pace of breathing to what it was before you first became stressed.
Why this works: Our breath tends to speed up when we are stressed (making us feel lightheaded), so this technique involves consciously trying to slow our breath.

Counting breathing (4-2-4)
Take in a large breath through your nose and count to four. Hold for two seconds. Slowly exhale through your lips to the count of four. Wait a few seconds and repeat a few times until you feel relaxed.
Why this works: This is a specific ratio of breathing which is proven to regulate oxygen intake and, as a result, can reduce anxiety.

Mindful breathing
Bring the focus of your attention to your breath. Become aware of bodily sensations and letting go of all thoughts and tension.
Why this works: This helps connect us to our bodies rather than become slaves to worries. Based on Zen Buddhism, mindfulness is well known to diffuse anxiety.

Soothing-talk breathing
While slowing down your breathing, you can also choose to say something calming to yourself on exhalation like 'relax’, ‘let it go’, or ‘this will pass’.
Why this works: It incorporates CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) principles of adjusting our negative automatic thoughts to more rational and helpful ones (for example, ‘I can’t cope’ becomes ‘I’ll get through this’) which can give us some mental as well as physical relief.

Abdominal breathing
Place one hand on your upper chest and one on your belly. Breathe in slowly through your nose and feel the hand on your belly push outwards while the hand on your chest is still. Breathe out through your lips.
Why this works: Using our diaphragm is viewed as a healthier way to breathe. It does so by maximising the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, which gives the muscles more fuel, meaning the heart will need to beat less quickly. For many though, it’s not easy to grasp at first and takes some practice, or instruction.